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Seven of Black Diamond's Most Popular Backpacks

Updated on May 5, 2015

Seven of Black Diamond's Most Popular Backpack Comparisons

Seven of Black Diamond's Most Popular Backpack reviews:

* Sonic (AKA Rugzak)

* Nitro

* Hollowpoint

* Bullet

* Shot

* Blaze

* Mission 75

I own and use each of these seven Black Diamond backpacks. I test a lot of different gear for many different manufacturers and I've found the Black Diamond backpacks (regardless of model) are lightweight but durable.

In comparison, Military Packs are designed essentially designed to carry between 80 and 100 lbs of gear. In real life, the average hiker/climber/backpacker carry less than half the 90lbs a Military pack is designed for, so why not design packs to be lighter and more comfortable?

Black Diamond did exactly that by taking a different direction in designing and building their civilian packs.

Choosing the right pack for hiking or climbing is important

A 'Minimalist Pack' great for a day climb or camping

Black Diamond Bullet Camping Backpack, Green Olive
Black Diamond Bullet Camping Backpack, Green Olive

Another style of day /climbing pack is the Black Diamond Bullet pack. They call it a Camping Backpack but maybe not for the reasons you might think. Really, it's a "Minimalist" Pack. meaning it's lightweight enough and small enough, that I can climb easily with it but still have room to take along whatever is needed, whether it be overnight or the weekend. It has an easy open top (or front load) zipper.

Evaluation: A great bag that isn't going to carry everything, but is really functional for those quick climbs or hikes. Plus, at under 40 bucks and FREE Shipping? This pack won't skin your wallet.


An excellent all around bag

Black Diamond Nitro Pack Coal Large
Black Diamond Nitro Pack Coal Large

The Black Diamond Nitro is a great over night'r, or weekender pack. It's kind of a front or top load bag. This is the pack I take for weekend fishing trips when I have to hike in. A perfect grab and go pack.

Evaluation: An excellent all around bag. Can be used comfortably doing most any casual excursion or hike. Not roomy enough for extended trips though.


The Sonic Backpack (aka: The Rugzak) - A serious Black Diamond Backpack

Black Diamond Backpack
Black Diamond Backpack

You Don't Want a Big Pack But One Big Enough to Carry Plenty?

Black Diamond Sonic Backpack, Cobalt, Medium
Black Diamond Sonic Backpack, Cobalt, Medium

My wife and I love the Sonic (aka Rugzak) It's considered a medium use pack but with it's narrower design it can also be used by someone with a smaller frame and besides, it still utilizes all of the Black Diamond Backpack technology. A Campingman Recommendation and it even comes with FREE Shipping and free returns.

Evaluation: The Sonic is and remains the top choice for several reasons. First, it carries more than the average day pack, but is just as comfortable on an ice climb, a weekender or just for just plain trekking.


Black Diamond Backpacks are made for the serious backpacker. That's a true statement, (well sort of) the truth is, they are made NOT just for the serious backpacker, but for anyone and everyone. But keep in mind, if you are a serious backpacker, hiker, climber? Black DFiamond has a pack for you. As an example, take the Black Diamond Sonic (Rugzak). It's a bigger pack than most out there, allowing me to carry more items, but is not bulky and does not sacrifice freedom of movement.

Although this pack is a tad heavier than the Hollowpoint, (coming in at 2 1/2 lbs empty,) you'll still find that the Sonic weighs half as much as a Military pack when empty. Even though the Sonic (Rugzak) is considered a "Day Pack", I have found that it's quite comfortable, versatile and workable for extended trips. I carry a small waterproof cover for all of my backpacks that I use anyway. One thing you absolutely cannot depend the weather. Be prepared.

The hip belts on this pack are soft, breathable 3D mesh and are made wider, for comfort. Those straps are mounted on a central swivel, for that "freedom of movement" I was talking about. Black Diamond calls it, their "ergoACTIV suspension." That means ( in plain English), if you have a loaded pack on your back, the last thing you want to worry about while scrambling up some ridge, is binding or limited hip movement. This pack will never bind you at the waist and/or hip. This small swivel allows for hip movement one direction, while the pack is free to move with it or away.

Another thing I like, is that it has a small zippered compartment in the belt. That compartment is big enough for a light jacket, light sticks or whatever. It also has stretch side pockets for easy access to the 'must have' items (or in my case, snacks.) If you want something to carry a tent, sleeping bag, some meals and a stove for that weekend getaway, this Sonic Backpack (aka Rugzak) is the pack for you.

A truly versatile and useful pack for the money.

More backpack Choices

The Shot and the Blaze Backpacks. Anything and everything I like or dislike and why is listed.

Climbing bag anyone?

Black Diamond Shot Backpack, Red Clay
Black Diamond Shot Backpack, Red Clay

I like a compact pack for that quick getaway climb or hike, The Shot is similar to the Bullet Pack except that it is a wee bit narrower. and easier to climb with. It even has a sleeve for a hydration pack built in. Finally, if you are bending deep or stretching your legs high up, the hip belt is removable. I grab the Black Diamond 'Shot' as it's my first choice and even for an overnight climb.

Evaluation: The Shot is an excellent pack for under fifty bucks that I use for climbing, but it has a ton of uses, If you are looking for a light pack with minimal characteristics for that one day trek? A quick climb, or bike trip? Look no further It's a really lightweight, simple, all around pack.


When you need a great tech bag? Grab the Blaze.

Black Diamond Blaze Backpack, Coal
Black Diamond Blaze Backpack, Coal

The Blaze is a slightly smaller pack . It's not like regular packs, in that it's not padded nor does it have tons of little knick knack pockets. It's a very straight foreward technical bag and that is what it was designed as. But it is perfect for a variety of uses, such as running, riding (Bikes or Horses) and yes...hiking and climbing. If you are looking for a lightweight as well as a functional bag? Take it from me, you need look no further. This pack allows me to move with ease, while I'm doing whatever, even climbing a rock face of a cliff. Order today, it includes free returns if for some reason you don't like the bag..

Evaluation: The Blaze is a no nonsense bag without a lot of extra's, just a technical bag that has plenty of room. If you are looking for a smaller and no nonsense bag? Get the Blaze

Black Diamond Backpacks
Black Diamond Backpacks

The Hollowpoint Backpack

I love a top loader

Next up is the Hollowpoint Backpack. It's a great day pack or even a pack for a weekend gig. I find it simplicity in itself.

It's a top loader, (for those who know me, I like top loader's the best) The reason for that is simple, there are not a ton of zippers to fiddle with. If you're just going on a day hike, there's room for food, emergency shelter, spare clothes (if you get wet,) extra jackets, etc.

Not to mention a few snacks and of course a first aid kit and safety equipment. The more times you use this lightweight and great backpack, the more uses you will come up with.

Remember when I said Military packs were heavy? Well, at just over a pound empty, the Hollowpoint Backpack is considered a lightweight pack. But it's tough enough to take on even the harshest conditions. The pack itself is only 20" long, but has a ton of interior room. The straps for your shoulders are wide and padded and like I said: "I like the top loader feature the best."

Not only that, but it has an outer side pocket for quick access to items like a trail snack to get you through the morning before lunch or the afternoon before you camp for the night. Whatever you choose to put in the pocket's, you will have easy access and of course, the pack is hydration compatible. (I carry a 100 oz hydration bladder) If you want to know about hydration bladders for these packs or any packs, just Google the name and Amazon has tons for sale.

Unlike many packs on the market?

The Hollowpoint Backpack's chest and waist bands distribute the weight of the pack, as opposed to just supporting it.

One of the better top loader's

Black Diamond Hollowpoint Backpack Black
Black Diamond Hollowpoint Backpack Black

The Hollowpoint by Black Diamond is a great top loader pack. It's a pack I use for tons of stuff, from cycling or as a workout pack, running pack, or even quick day climb pack because it's hydration compatible and comes with FREE Shipping It's perfect.

Evaluation: A fairly skinny pack that still can carry the essentials. If you want a really great top loader that will carry more than the Sonic or Nitro but still be lightweight and comfortable? Buy the Hollowpoint


Backpacker's Shopping Corner - Stuff you need

How To Backpack: Your Step-By-Step Guide To Backpacking
How To Backpack: Your Step-By-Step Guide To Backpacking

This book tells you the HOW's and WHY's of packing a backpack. If you are like me and want to know the simple secrets? Buy the book and you will be amazed at how easy it is if you just know the secrets. Get yours today, it's The Kindle Edition Take it anywhere.


Black Diamond Backpacks

In closing

In this review of seven of Black Diamond's most popular backpacks, I have described how and why they make a cleanly designed line of packs. Backpacks with enough interior room to carry all your necessities for a great day (or days) outside. Carrying a hydration bladder as an example, so you can stay hydrated on your outdoor adventure and not carry water bottles?

The best invention ever. "TRANSLATION:" No more discarded water bottles on the trail

Weight distribution, size consideration of the individual backpacker are all things to consider when selecting a backpack. Waist, chest and shoulder straps with padding are a mainstay of their backpacks which help to distribute, not hang the weight of the pack. Quality materials of the lightest yet strongest materials are used in the construction and all....carry a great warranty. Take a serious look at the Black Diamond line. You'll be glad you did.

Thanks for reading today, stay safe and I'll see you on the trail--CampingmanNW

My 'Go To' Pack

Black Diamond Mission 75 Outdoor Backpack, Cobalt, Medium
Black Diamond Mission 75 Outdoor Backpack, Cobalt, Medium

Finally today.....The Mission 75 pack. It remains my pack for extended hiking, climbing or camping trips. You can see from the picture, it's narrower and taller than most, but allows me to store everything inside. The outside is tough and takes all of the scraping and dragging I can throw at it. If I'm going ice climbing, it even has a sleeve for my ice tool either on the hip belt or the pack. Order yours today.

Evaluation: This pack is perfect for long trips for a couple of reasons, ( 1 ) it's a top loader with great load capability. ( 2 ) The fit. It just fits my back and I hardly know it's there even when I carry a big load.


I include this great duffle made by Marmot.

Marmot Long Hauler Duffle Bag Pack, X-Large, Red
Marmot Long Hauler Duffle Bag Pack, X-Large, Red

If you want a great duffle bag for your personal stuff? Marmot makes a great line of bags and the Marmot Long Hauler Duffle is no exception. Even though it is not made as a backpack, the twin straps can be used to carry it as one temporarily. Tons of room for most everything and a tough exterior to handle most anything you can drag it across or drop it on. and get FREE Shipping too!

Evaluation: If your'e looking for a really great duffle and your search has narrowed down to this bag or a Patagonia? Skip the Patagonia and buy this bag instead.


Any comments of questions about Black Diamond Backpacks?

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    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @BodyHairRemoval: Glad to help. Thanks for stopping by

    • BodyHairRemoval profile image


      4 years ago

      I could use a good backpack. Thanks for this review.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      4 years ago

      I like the Sonic backpack.

    • sha-ron profile image


      4 years ago

      Great information on black diamond backpacks. Although I prefer comfort when camping so probably would not need this type of backpacks.

    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 

      4 years ago

      good lens1 i have to admit though i am an OLD schooler when it comes to backpacks. I still have a Kelty exterior frame pack that works well for me. Somehow I am able to keep my gear more organized than my interior frame buddies.

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @Merrci: Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by.

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @favored: Hello again. Yes 'packing' is a lot of backpacking, but for weight more than anything else. The right size pack for your body frame (AKA back/hips ) is the game. Thanks for your visit and your warm comments

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      Being a small framed person I haven't been able to carry these very well, but this brand looks like it balances better. The book on how to backpack is a really good idea. I imagine it could really save on people's backs knowing how to pack correctly.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      5 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Very interesting lens! Thanks for sharing.

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @RoSelou: Glad to hear you enjoyed the lens. Yes, backpacking is extremely fun and a marvelous way to see nature.Take care, be safe and we'll see you on the trail--

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love backpacking. This lens is useful!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @anonymous: Best ones I've found in my years of packing and camping. thank you for reading.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Those backpacks all look solid

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @poutine: They are well made. thank you for the read and for your kind comments

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Oneshotvariety LM: They are a very good backpack for the money and easy to use. Thanks for stopping by

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I agree, the backpacks look very strong.

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 

      5 years ago

      They look like very convenient bags. Great lens!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @RuralFloridaLiving: Over the years, I have used many different brands and styles, but these seem to be about the most rugged and dependable for the money. Thanks for your visit.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Black Diamond makes some beautiful backpacks!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @AdamzPg: You took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks for the read.

    • AdamzPg profile image


      5 years ago

      Black diamond backpacks are a great choice!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @ElizaRayner: Glad you liked it. Yep, I'm a Black Diamond fan myself. Take care and thanks for the comment.

    • ElizaRayner profile image

      Eliza Rayner 

      5 years ago from Boulder, Colorado

      I love Black Diamond products! I've got an old BD bullet pack that's the perfect size for day outings or for doing multi pitch climbs. Great page thanks.


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